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Toni Kroos’ strong mentality to improve
Germany’s spirit ahead of WC opener

By Oliver Trust BERLIN Russia (Xinhua) -- Luka Modric is full of admiration whenever he speaks about his Real Madrid teammate Toni Kroos.

"Toni? He never gets nervous. And I mean never," the Croatian midfielder commented ahead of Germany’s World Cup opener against Mexico this Sunday evening in Moscow.

The 32-year-old ends his statement about the German midfielder by saying:

"He’s unbelievable.

"No matter what happens, Toni stays cool."

But it’s not only Modric who likes Kroos’ qualities. Many regard the four-time Champions League winner as the only player in the German squad that is irreplaceable.

Like a machine, the 28-year-old conducts Germany’s game. 87.9 percent of his passes last season reached their target - the best rate in all of Europe’s top leagues.

The Berlin-based newspaper "Die Welt" wrote that the metronomic passer is the man that determines the shape of the 2014 world champions.

His former club Bayern Munich has admitted several times it was one of their biggest mistakes to allow Kroos to leave in 2014 and join the Royals in the Spanish capital.

Having won the treble with Bayern in 2013, Kroos has added three more Champions League titles and helped Real Madrid fend off the attacks by their top European rivals.

Some say Kroos, in the meantime one of the world’s best, plays football like a tailor providing passes of unprecedented accuracy. He is also called "the boss" by coaches and teammates alike.

Head-coach Joachim Loew is counting on the support of the midfielder off and on the training pitch.

Not only his passing makes head coach Loew sleep well, but also the mentality Kroos spreads within the German camp.

Born in east Germany, he points the way to success.

Like a professional trainee Kroos is talking to the team about various options for self-motivation.

At the World Cup, he is the one telling everybody how to develop greediness after having already won a major title.

"It is ok to take the foot off the accelerator for a while but after a few days it’s time to think about the next goal, and to invest the same kind of energy," stressed Kroos, who is targeting a successful defense of the trophy they won in Brazil.

While the Germans are considered one of the favorites, the team itself seems affected by poor warm-up games.

Kroos is the one telling his teammates to treat the games against Austria and Saudi Arabia as a wakeup call.

"We have to improve.

"That’s a fact," the German leader said.

It might sound strange, but the 2014 world champion is far from confident in advance of the Mexico game.

The tension around the German team couldn’t be higher.

It is Kroos’ task to turn tension into positive motivation.

It might be a nice coincidence that Kroos lives next door to the Portugal star and Real striker Cristiano Ronaldo. In contrast, the German is not interested in the limelight.

For him, privacy is far more important - as is an unobtrusive style on the pitch delivering content for headlines.

Kroos rarely allows the public to be part of his private life.

One of the rare occasions when he did was his post to his wife Jessica on the couple’s third wedding anniversary.

"It feels like it was yesterday. I love you," Kroos wrote.

In Russia, Kroos is back talking only about football.

Asked about his personal development since the 2014 World Cup triumph Kroos said:

"My character hasn’t changed, but as a footballer, I have improved." Germany’s World Cup rivals had better be warned.
.

EARLIER REPORT:

Germany right-back Joshua Kimmich: ‘I’m not Lahm 2.0’

MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- Germany right-back Joshua Kimmich has dismissed comparisons between himself and 2014 World Cup winner Philipp Lahm, insisting that he is his own player.

Speaking ahead of the team’s 2018 World Cup opener against Mexico in Moscow on Sunday, Kimmich said he is a long way from reaching the level of his predecessor for both club and country.

"Philipp Lahm left his stamp on that position [right-back] for 15 years and when he retired he was captain of Germany and Bayern Munich," Kimmich said in a news conference in Vatutinki, on the outskirts of Moscow, at a press conference on Friday.

"I am 23 years old so I cannot match him.

"I lack the experience and I don’t try to copy him.

"I want to be Joshua Kimmich and not Philipp Lahm 2.0."

Lahm ended his 113-game international career after captaining Germany to victory in Brazil four years ago.

He retired from all forms of football at the end of last year, having won a raft of major trophies at club and international level.

Despite earning only 29 caps to date, Kimmich has shown a capacity to perform on big occasions, having been named in the team of the tournament at Euro 2016.

"In every game I want to perform well, not for me but for the team," Kimmich said.

"We want to have a good start and win this game against Mexico and then look ahead to the next matches."

Germany will also play South Korea and Sweden in Group F.

             

 

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